Today I met my PAL for the very first time. After speaking with her I learned that she has a daughter in Australia that she visits once a year and that she has traveled a lot her whole life. What surprised me is that I found out she is a nurse. Because she is older than me, I didn’t actually think she would still be able to be employed. I learned that even I have stereotypes ingrained in my brain that need to be changed. Just because people are older, it doesn’t mean they sit at home all day.
I really enjoyed this intergenerational program because it has already taught me so much in one day. It was a bit of a challenge at first because I don’t have grandparents and it was nice to be able to sit down with someone older than me, full of wisdom and stories. She has hearing aids but laughed about it and it didn’t bother her if she didn’t hear something right away. She is funny and witty, I enjoyed myself with her and can’t wait to meet up with her again next week.
Suzy Tavakoli, graduate student in Pharmacy
Walking into the dance studio today, there was a feeling of excitement and maybe a little apprehension as no one really knew what to expect from this experience. This is the first time movement art classes are being offered through the PALETTE program and I am excited to be a part of this inaugural class. As I conversed with fellow participants before the start of class, I realized that regardless of our different backgrounds and experiences, we were all starting on the same page today. We were all a little nervous about what was to come, but also excited to be experiencing something new. The older adult sitting next to me commented about never being too old to try something new. I think this is true on many levels. For all of us today, trying something new was participating in a movement class without really knowing what that meant. As a child, it was learning to walk instead of crawl. As an older adult, it may be picking up a new hobby after retirement.
Today, it was exciting to see both younger and older adults trying something new together. We started by introducing ourselves and then had a chance to be creative right away with moving and making shapes with our bodies, and connecting with and moving with others. We later worked in small groups and took turns leading others with our own creative dance moves. Everyone had a chance to lead and follow through this exercise. My favorite activity from today was moving our bodies through space to spell our name. I am well-practiced at using my arms to spell out VCU during basketball games, but found it a challenge to think about how to represent my own name and having more freedom to move about than when packed into the student section at a game. We had a chance to share our name dance with the entire group and it was absolutely beautiful to watch everyone share something they had created and that was unique to them. By the end of class today, I think everyone seemed a little more relaxed and much more connected than we had at the beginning. I am looking forward to making deeper connections as the movement classes continue.
Kelly Hainline, graduate student in Physical Therapy